By the end of 2006, 39.5 million people would be living with HIV/AIDS around the world, 5.7 million of them in India. Within two decades of being first detected in Chennai in 1986, HIV has spread rapidly within India, making it home to the highest number of HIV positive people in the world.
Women, mostly monogamous, account for 38 per cent of those infected, getting the virus from their regular partners. Parent-to-child infection is the leading cause of infection among the 65,000 children under 15 years living with HIV.
Only 125,000 people in India know that they have HIV, and just over 48,000 people get free treatment for AIDS under the government programme.